Fewer Boats Means a Safer Spring for Miami’s Marine Creatures

Fewer Boats Means a Safer Spring for Miami's Marine Creatures

Some species are swimming to Miami for warmer waters, including everybody’s favorite sea cow: the manatee. Over the past few weeks, amateur photographers have been capturing images and video of manatees, turtles, and sawfish in South Florida waterways and posting them on social media. Stay-at-home orders have meant fewer boats out on the water. And that’s meant a safer spring vacation for Miami’s aquatic creatures, many of which are coming back to shore. The nonprofit advocacy group Miami Waterkeeper has received alerts and videos from residents of interesting species they’ve never seen before, including a particularly rare find: endangered smalltooth sawfish in Biscayne Bay. “Somebody reported they saw two smalltooth sawfish near Margaret Pace Park. I don’t think we’ve seen sawfish in that part of the bay before,” Miami Waterkeeper’s executive director, Rachel Silverstein, says. According to Silverstein, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists said it was the first time two of the species were filmed together. Smalltooth sawfish are normally shy, Silverstein says, and also rare. Because of overfishing, much of their food supply has disappeared, and they also run the risk of getting caught in fishing nets. Coastal mangroves, their natural habitat, have largely vanished from Miami coastlines. But sawfish aren’t the only marine animals making an appearance in the middle of Florida’s lockdown. With spring underway, some species are swimming to Miami for warmer waters, including everybody’s favorite sea cow: the manatee. Twitter user Micah Gill posted a video of a herd of about 17 manatees he saw in Biscayne Bay on March 22. “This is crazy! Also, can I point out, how clear is this water? Wow,” Gill says in the video. Reports of manatees swimming close to shore have popped up in other parts of Florida as well. A couple of manatees munched on […]

Original Post www.miaminewtimes.com

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